Investing

Top Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades: Amgen, Bank of America, Box, Chico's FAS, Microsoft, Netflix, NXP, StoneCo, Tiffany and More

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Stocks were indicated to open higher by 1% after a spokesperson from China’s Ministry of Commerce said that it is willing to resolve the trade war with a calm attitude. Despite the volatility and selling pressure last week, the bull market is well over 10 years old and the Dow Jones industrials, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all still have double-digit percentage gains so far in 2019. Investors ought to be considering how to position their portfolios and assets for late 2019 and as 2020 approaches.

24/7 Wall St. reviews dozens of analyst research reports each day of the week to find new ideas for traders and long-term investors alike. Some of the daily analyst calls cover stocks to buy, while others cover stocks to sell or to avoid.

We have provided these calls in a quick-hit summary for easy reading, and additional comments and trading data have been added on some of the calls. The consensus analyst price targets and other valuation metrics are from the Refinitiv (Thomson Reuters) sell-side research service.

These are the top analyst upgrades, downgrades and initiations seen on Thursday, August 29, 2019.

Amgen Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) was reiterated as Neutral at JPMorgan, but the firm did raise its target price to $198 from $191 in the call. The shares closed up 0.5% at $207.52 ahead of the call, in a 52-week trading range of $166.30 to $211.90 and with a consensus target price of $213.21.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James. The shares closed up 1.4% at $26.85 on Wednesday and were indicated up 1% at $27.13 on Thursday. They have a 52-week trading range of $22.66 to $31.37, and the consensus target price was $33.24.

Box Inc. (NYSE: BOX) closed up 1.1% at $13.83 on Wednesday ahead of earnings, but the shares were down 9.6% at $12.50 on Thursday’s post-earnings reaction. Raymond James maintained it as Outperform but cut the target price to $18 from $21. First Analysis downgraded the stock to Neutral from Outperform and cut its target price to $14 from $22.

Cadence Bancorp (NASDAQ: CADE) was downgraded to Outperform from Strong Buy at Raymond James.

Casey’s General Stores Inc. (NASDAQ: CASY) was downgraded to Underperform from Sector Perform at RBC Capital Markets. Its shares had closed up 1% at $170.56 on Wednesday, and it had a consensus target price of $157.70.

Chico’s FAS Inc. (NYSE: CHS) was maintained as Market Perform and the target price was cut to $3 from $4 at Telsey Advisory Group. The stock closed up 21% at $3.05 on Wednesday after earnings, in part based on stronger sales at its Soma brand.

Douglas Dynamics Inc. (NYSE: PLOW) was named as the Bull of the Day at Zacks, which said that snowplows in the summer might be the play of the season. The stock most recently closed at $41.22 a share, with a consensus price target of $48.33.

Dova Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: DOVA) was started with an Outperform rating and assigned a $30 target price (versus a $15.16 prior close, after a 5.2% gain) at Oppenheimer.

Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (NYSE: LPX) was named as the Zacks Bear of the Day stock. The firm said that we are a long way from the Trump trade that made stocks like this run. The stock closed most recently at $23.05 a share, with a consensus price target of $29.50.

MarketAxess Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: MKTX) was started with a Hold rating at Argus.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was reiterated as Outperform with a $160 target price (versus a $135.56 close) at Wedbush Securities. The impetus behind the call is the firm’s checks in cloud growth, and it noted that Microsoft is closing the gap on Amazon’s AWS with a clear acceleration of larger and more strategic enterprise cloud deals in the United States and Europe. The firm also believes Microsoft is poised to win the lion’s share of the next phase of cloud deployments over Amazon’s AWS.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) was maintained as Outperform at Imperial Capital, but the firm did lower its target price to $451 from $458, as the streaming competition heats up. Netflix was at $291.77 per share ahead of the call, but it was indicated up 1% at $294.77 afterward. The 52-week trading range is $231.23 to $386.80, and the consensus target price is $388.40.

NXP Semiconductors N.V. (NASDAQ: NXPI) was started with a Buy rating and assigned a $118 target price at Loop Capital. The shares closed up 1.6% at $100.28 on Wednesday, and the consensus target price was $116.81.

Owl Rock Capital Corp. (NYSE: ORCC) was started with a Neutral rating and a $16 target price (versus a $15.98 close) at Janney.

Solid Biosciences Inc. (NASDAQ: SLDB) was downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $6 target price (versus a $9.09 close) at Citigroup. The stock had closed up over 8% on Wednesday, but its 52-week range of $4.32 to $54.54 explains its trading history’s checkered past.

StoneCo Ltd. (NASDAQ: STNE) was reiterated as Neutral but the target price was raised to $31 from $26 (versus a $30.68 close) at JPMorgan.

Tallgrass Energy L.P. (NYSE: TGE) was downgraded to Neutral from Outperform and the target price was lowered to $20 from $28 at Robert W. Baird. The stock closed up 35% at $19.46 a share, based on a buyout offer the prior day. Its consensus target price was $21.65, and its 52-week trading range is $14.28 to $25.96.

Tapestry Inc. (NYSE: TPR) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Cowen. The shares closed at $20.49 on Wednesday, and the consensus target price was $29.46.

Texas Capital Bancshares Inc. (NASDAQ: TCBI) was downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Raymond James.

Tiffany & Co. (NYSE: TIF) was maintained as Outperform but the target price was lowered to $110 from $120 at Telsey Advisory. Citigroup maintained its Neutral rating on Tiffany but still lowered its target price to $94 from $100.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. (NYSE: WSM) was reiterated as Underweight but the target price was raised to $64 from $55 at JPMorgan, and Citigroup maintained its Neutral rating but raised its target to $70 from $59. The shares previously closed up 0.5% at $68.78, in a 52-week range of $45.01 to $72.49 and with a consensus target price of $62.36.

With yields plunging to record lows, five dividend aristocrat stocks that are rated Buy at Merrill Lynch are great growth and income ideas now.

Oil has rebounded this week but has underperformed the S&P 500 big-time this year. Goldman Sachs thinks four top refining stocks are a great way to play the sector.

Wednesday’s top analyst calls included Anaplan, Autodesk, Cerus, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Mallinckrodt, Nabors Industries, Veeva Systems, VistaGen Therapeutics and many more.

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